On Health

Organic and Sustainable Farming and the Environment

Delusion of Separation

“A human being is part of the whole called by us universe ... we experience ourselves, our thoughts and feelings as something separate from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from the prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty. The true value of a human being is determined by the measure and the sense in which they have obtained liberation from the self. We shall require a substantially new manner of thinking if humanity is to survive.”

- Albert Einstein

Quitting The Cause

“According to the dynamic laws of holistic healing, health is restored when the cause of the problem, rather than its symptoms, is appropriately treated. Therefore, we must approach the decontamination and restoration of the Earth by first identifying the cause of the problem, then we can start to clean up the water, air, and soil... It is to our advantage that the systems of the planet are interactive - just as one is capable of contaminating the other, they are also capable of healing one another. Again, the principles are similar to those of the human body, and what is beneficial and supportive of one system will benefit the others… We can restore harmony to our own relationship with nature. But first, we must stop pretending that conditions or diseases are “caught. “ We do not catch diseases, we build them. We have to eat, drink, think and feel them into existence. We work hard at developing our diseases. We must work as hard at restoring health. Similarly, Mother Earth did not “catch” any of her diseases... Human chemical abuse in the form of environmental pollution is what must be stopped and reversed in order that the natural healing ability inherent in both the planet and the human being is to take over.”

- Dr. Bernard Jensen and Mark Anderson, Empty Harvest: Understanding the Link Between Our Food, Our Immunity, and Our Planet, 1990

The Tao

“He who loves the world as his body may be entrusted with the empire.”

- Lao Tzu, The Way of Lao Tzu

Exploitation Versus Nurture

“In order to understand our own time and predicament, and the work that is to be done, we would do well to say that we are divided between exploitation and nurture… I conceive a strip miner (or strip-farmer) to be a model exploiter, and as a model nurturer, I take the old-fashioned idea or ideal of a farmer. The exploiter is a specialist, an expert; the nurturer is not. The standard of the exploiter is efficiency; the standard of the nurturer is care. The exploiter’s goal is money, profit; the nurturer’s goal is health - his land’s health, his own, his family's, his community’s, his country’s. Whereas the exploiter asks of a piece of land only how much and how quickly it can be made to produce, the nurturer asks a question that is much more complex and difficult: What is its carrying capacity? What can it produce dependably without diminishing it for an indefinite time? The exploiter wishes to earn as much as possible, the nurturer expects, certainly, to have a decent living from his work, but his characteristic wish is to work as well as possible.”

- Wendell Berry, The Unsettling of America, 1977

Living Soil

“What is soil? Unfortunately, and increasingly, the modern mindset simply regards it as ‘dirt’ - something to clean off your nine-year old son’s knees if he’s fallen out of that tree, or worse, at an industry level, its regarded as nothing more than an inert medium for sowing plants - just somewhere to put them. For agri-businessmen, little or no connection is made between the health of the soil, and the health of the plants they produce. The mechanized treatment of the soil is arbitrary and aggressive, and the consequences of this disconnect are dire. You could simplify its composition by reducing it to four main components: minerals, air, water, and organic matter. The complicated version, however, is almost beyond belief, and despite the best efforts of scientists many aspects remain mysterious. Hidden from immediate notice, a healthy soil contains innumerable micro and macro-organisms. In fact, there are said to be over four billion micro-organisms in just one teaspoon of healthy soil. These organisms work with each other, and with plants, in a symbiotic relationship that ultimately provides for the needs of all creatures that walk, fly, or swim on our planet. Part of their work is to break down decaying organic matter, along with minerals in the soil, and then make these available to plant roots in a nutrient form they can utilize. They are essentially an immense army of recyclers - working for our benefit without reward and with scant recognition

- Craig Macintosh, Soil: Our Financial Institution

Unintended Consequences

“Organically and Sustainably grown foods are higher in cancer fighting antioxidants than conventionally grown foods. The research suggests that pesticides and herbicides actually thwart the production of phenolics, chemicals that act as a plant's natural defense and also happen to be good for our health. Flavonoids are phenolic compounds that have potent antioxidant activity. Many are produced in plants in response to environmental stressors, such as insects or competing plants. Bitter or harsh phenolics guard the plant against pests. The need for these natural safeguards decreases with the use of herbicides and pesticides in conventional agriculture. This decrease is reflected in the total amount of antioxidants the plants produce. This helps explain why the level of antioxidants is so much higher in organically grown food. By synthetically protecting the produce from these pests, we decrease their need to produce antioxidants. It suggests that maybe we are doing something to our food inadvertently.”

- Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Chemical Society, the world's largest scientific society, January, 2007

De Dao Herbs

“Modern research has also proven that local variants of plants contain different substances. Less known is the fact that even samples of exactly the same species grown in different areas show significant differences in their ingredients: Gan Cao coming from six places in China with different soils contained strong variances in their organic and inorganic chemical components. This is even more true for animals and therefore for man as well. If we consider these influences to have an impact on ones constitution and health, it must have consequences for the therapist when diagnosing and treating his patients, too.”

- G.R.Neeb, The Geomedicine of TCM

The Precautionary Approach

"Until we have a more complete understanding of pesticide toxicity, the benefit of the doubt should be awarded to protecting the environment, the worker, and the consumer - this precautionary approach is necessary because the data on risk to human health from exposure to pesticides are incomplete."

- The British Medical Association

Pesticide Cocktails

“Most pesticide-residue safety levels are set for individual pesticides, but many samples of fresh produce carry multiple pesticide residues. Rules often do not take into account the "cocktail effect" of combinations of pesticides in and on foods (and, of course, our herbs). Research is emerging confirming the potential for such synergistic increases in toxicity of up to 100-fold, resulting in reproductive, immune and nervous system effects not expected from the individual compounds acting alone. Israeli researchers have linked symptoms such as headaches, tremor, lack of energy, depression, anxiety, poor memory, dermatitis, convulsions, nausea, indigestion and diarrhea with dietary intakes of pesticides. Belgian research has found that women diagnosed with breast cancer are six to nine times more likely to have the pesticides DDT or hexachlorobenzene in their bloodstreams compared to women who did not have breast cancer. Hawaiian researchers following 8,000 people for 34 years have found that increasing consumption of conventional fruit and juice (and the pesticide residues they carry) raises the risk of Parkinson's disease.”

- Shane Heaton, Organic Food News Quarterly

Toxic Disruption of Health

"Those concerned with the fight against disease know that our body’s are designed to overcome disease processes before they become established. Our systems are readily disrupted by toxins and an absence of sufficient quantities of nutrients."

- Chris Ashton, Nutritional Cancer Therapy Trust

Fertilizers and the Health of Aquatic Systems

“Because organic agriculture respects the balance of microorganisms in the soil, organic producers use composted manure and other natural materials, as well as crop rotation, to help improve soil fertility, rather than synthetic fertilizers that can result in an overabundance of nitrogen and phosphorous in the ground. As a result, organic practices help protect ground water supplies and avoid runoff of chemicals that can cause "dead zones" in larger bodies of water.”

- Organic Trade Association

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